Vermont, Fletcher Allen Given Featured Roles In 1st Summit Meeting On Health Quality And Costs Since Enactment Of Landmark Reforms 6 Months Ago

(FRIDAY, Oct. 1) -- Next week’s first national health care summit meeting on health quality and costs since enactment of landmark health insurance reforms six months ago will spotlight Fletcher Allen Health Care’s success with its innovative steps in boosting quality while lowering costs.  The day-long conference will convene Monday (Oct. 4) on Capitol Hill in Washington.

At the suggestion of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Dr. Melinda Estes, president and CEO of Fletcher Allen Health Care, will discuss Fletcher Allen’s model and experience in the conference’s first session, “Designing High Value Health Care: Lessons From The Field.”

Dr. Craig Jones, director of the Vermont Blueprint For Health, is a panelist in another session on “Fostering State-Federal Collaboration And Public-Private Partnerships.”

Leahy, who had often touted Fletcher Allen and the Vermont Blueprint For Health during Congress’s year-long health insurance reform debate, had personally suggested roles for Vermont’s health care leaders in the summit meeting to U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, who organized the conference.  She agreed with Leahy that Vermont’s example is valuable as a model for other states to study and emulate.

“Fletcher Allen has put theory into practice, forging innovations that work,” said Leahy.  “The impetus for reform is now the law of the land, and Vermont continues to lead on the cutting edge.  Fletcher Allen and the Vermont Blueprint For Health will have the health care community’s undivided attention at this summit.”

The new law actively encourages others states to follow examples like Vermont’s, and other states and regions are taking note of Vermont’s success.

Fletcher Allen consistently ranks as a high-value provider because of the system’s coordinated model of health care delivery that emphasizes reliance on primary and specialty physician care, resulting in lower inpatient and outpatient service needs and in lower costs.   

The most recent Medicare Payment Advisory Commission report on Medicare payment variations validates Vermont’s efforts, showing the Burlington area (Fletcher Allen’s service area) with a service use per beneficiary rate of 82 percent of the national average – the lowest rate in New England, and ranking 14th best of the 404 service regions surveyed.  Statewide, Vermont also ranked high on the list.

Vermont’s Blueprint for Health, a chronic care initiative, supports this model statewide by coordinating patient care through the use of “medical homes” – a care delivery system that was recognized in the health reform law. 

Both models are broadly applicable as other states and care delivery systems move to improve value and curb spiraling costs, as prescribed in the health reform law.

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